Hyundai, Tesla joining the Libertyville Mile of Cars, bringing a boost to village revenues

Two new dealerships opening soon will expand the brand offerings on the Libertyville Mile of Cars, a well-known destination for vehicle shoppers along busy Milwaukee Avenue.

Happy Hyundai recently received the green light for entry and building signs at 1119 S. Milwaukee Ave., a former Mitsubishi dealership that has been vacant for about four years.

The new arrival joins Tesla, which has repurposed the former Gregory Infinity spot immediately south at 1121 S. Milwaukee Ave. Both are expected to open in early October.

"It fills out the Mile of Cars," said Heather Rowe, the village's economic development manager. "We have added brands to the mix and additional dealers."

The Mile of Cars is an association currently composed of 12 dealerships representing 17 brands.

"These two brands will be a revenue boost for the village," said Glenn Bockwinkel, director of operations at Libertyville Lincoln and the village's contact for the Mile of Cars.

Tesla is an industry leader in the electric vehicle field and Hyundai is a mass brand with high volume, Bockwinkel noted. The pair should attract a lot of shoppers not only for cars, but also for other goods and services.

"I think that's really a big deal for the future of car dealers and Libertyville," Bockwinkel said.

Vehicle sales as a portion of village general fund revenue dipped from 71%, or $5.7 million, in 2001 to 57%, or about $4.5 million, in 2019, according to village records. Revenue from vehicle sales was about $3.9 million during 2020.

"It's still the biggest portion of our sales tax receipts," Rowe said.

Sales peaked in the early 2000s and have since adjusted due to a combination of factors, she said, including economic conditions and changes in the auto industry nationally and regionally.

The village tax base also has diversified, boosting sales in other categories, according to Rowe.

"In more recent years, we've seen renewed growth in the auto category," she added.

Bockwinkel said there are "not a lot of cars on the lots right now" because of a shortage of computer chips used in vehicles. He doesn't expect the situation to be fully resolved for about a year.

The Tesla dealership will be the second in Lake County. Other suburban locations include Highland Park, Lisle, Chicago and Westmont.

Hyundai currently is leasing the property, "but I think they have longer term plans in Libertyville," Rowe said.

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  The Happy Hyundai dealership is expected to open on Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville in early October. It will join Tesla as new entries along what's known as Libertyville Mile of Cars. Mick Zawislak/
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